Letters for April 18, 2002 | Letters | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida

Letters for April 18, 2002

And don't forget, "it is Pompano": When it comes to capital letters, Bob Norman's name sure screams out loud and BIG. I enjoyed his article ("Marina Madness," April 4) very much, but what's new? I am sure you have heard "you can't fight city hall." Well, that's for sure, not when the top man is dishonest and takes all the advantage the system provides him. And there's really no cost to him personally. Besides, don't forget, it is Florida.

Ariel Silber
via the Internet

Guess we know who's policing the hippies: After reading Chuck Strouse's column "You Can't Handle the Truth" (March 7) and the April 4 letter in response, "Truth Be Told," you better believe I was livid. Let me relate what happened to me at the hands of the Hollywood police. I was busted on trumped-up charges, and the police weren't content just to arrest me. They also beat the crap out of me and put me in the hospital. After pepper-spraying me in the face, five cops stood around kicking me, smashing my face into the pavement, and breaking my glasses. All the while with my hands cuffed behind my back!

Then they charged me with resisting arrest and assault on a law-enforcement officer. After two years and thousands of dollars in expense, still awaiting trial and facing years of minimum mandatory prison time, I copped a plea. So now I'm a convicted felon serving a year of house arrest followed by two years' probation, 250 community-service hours, a $1000 fine, and anger management classes. Oh yeah, and letters of apology. Sound familiar?

Welcome to Broward County. Incidents like these happen far too often. Recently, a homeless man died after being taken in custody by the police. The cops that stomped me previously had numerous Internal Affairs investigations for excessive use of force in which people were seriously injured. (The judge in my case upheld the state's motion not to allow us to present this in court.) And let's not forget Frank Valdez, the prison inmate who was found dead in his cell with boot marks all over his body. All the officers involved were acquitted.

The (aptly named) "criminal" justice system often fails the public (the very people the cops are supposedly serving and protecting) when it comes to police misconduct. Thus, I ask, when will the violence and brutality stop? Who's policing the police?

Space Hippie

Andre's double major: After reading Kirk Nielsen's article about the cheating incident involving UM football player Andre Johnson ("Hurricane Andre," March 21), I say kudos to Professor Thomas Petersen and the University of Miami's Undergraduate Honor Council for upholding their end. However, Andre Johnson's case brings to the fore a more problematic issue than simple academic dishonesty. In short, it's time the elitists got over it. College is not only for smart people.

People generally go to college for two reasons: to become smarter and to increase their value in the job market. Andre Johnson and every other football player who is sold this dream and duped into playing sports is attempting to do the latter, just like every other student in his or her own field. It's time to realize that college is a training ground, be it for business, sociology, or football. Johnson has chosen football. Until there is some other way of getting to the National Football League, you nerds need to get off your pedestals and realize that the university also serves as a vocational institution for many nonintellectual careers. Just because Johnson doesn't know the meaning of euphemism and stigmatizing doesn't mean he has no understanding of the vocabulary that will help him to be successful in his chosen field. Do most sociology students know the definition of "crackback block" or "pulling guard?" Doubtful.

Truth is, all athletes must be double majors, succeeding in their academic major and their chosen sport. Athletes practice a good portion of the hours a regular student might study his major. In fairness, if football players must play well and write like English majors, perhaps English majors should be required to catch a 30-yard bullet while sprinting in front of screaming fans.

By playing UM football, Johnson has not only increased his worth in the job market; he has also achieved the other goal of attending college: He has become smarter.

If Andre Johnson doesn't make it in pro football for some reason, then yes, he may end up selling cars for a living. But I'd be willing to bet there are at least as many former sociology majors selling cars as there are former football players doing the same.

Doug Keller
Cutler Ridge

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